Nokia Asha 501: Super-cheap smartphone unveiled

Mobile stalwart Nokia has today revealed the latest addition to its smartphone line - the colourful and affordable Nokia Asha 501.

With a price point of just $99 - a touch under £65 when converted directly – the new Asha will primarily target emerging markets such as Latin America and India, but a third quarter UK release means British smartphone shoppers on a budget will also be able to take advantage.

Sporting bright, removable covers in red, green, cyan, yellow, white and black, the dinky Asha 501 weighs just 98g, measuring up at 99.2 x 58 x 12.1mm (HWD).

Getting to the nitty-gritty, we have a 3in QVGA TFT capacitive display, a 3.2-megapixel camera, 4GB memory expandable to 32GB, 128MB Flash, and talk time touted at “up to 17 hours.” Nokia has so far remained tight lipped on processor and battery details, however.

At the heart of the Asha UI is a new feature dubbed Fastlane, accessible with a single swipe, which compiles your most used apps and functions.

“Fastlane makes it faster and easier to access whatever is most important to you,” Nokia explains. “Whether it is the applications you use the most, the latest images you’ve captured or your social network updates, Fastlane is designed so that you’re never more than a swipe away.

"Think of it as intelligent multitasking, or think of it as an interactive second home screen. Either way, Fastlane tracks your past, present and future, showing up to 50 of your most recent activities. It brings all the different elements of your smartphone experience together.”

An official hands-on with the Asha 501 courtesy of its Finnish manufacturer can be viewed above.

If you're a bit of a Nokia loyalist but think your smartphone budget can stretch a little further than the Asha line, you may be considering the mid-range Nokia Lumia 720, which we reviewed this week.